Jeju, Republic of Korea

6 September 2012

Secretary-General's video message to the fifth IUCN World Conservation Congress

I am pleased to greet the fifth IUCN World Conservation Congress.   I thank the Government of the Republic of Korea and Jeju Province for hosting.

Jeju island embodies the intricate beauty and harmony of nature for which IUCN is such a successful advocate.

The United Nations places great value on its partnership with IUCN.  Thanks to its observer status in the UN General Assembly, your organization is a dynamic participant in our discussions. 

And indeed, we need your voice and your engagement.

Our planet faces formidable environmental challenges.

It is increasingly clear to an ever-greater number of people – from pastoralists to policy makers – that our well-being and sustainable development depend on taking nature into account in all our decision-making.

This understanding was reinforced at the Rio+20 conference on sustainable development earlier this year.

Our challenge now is to turn the Rio commitments into a lasting legacy.  For that we will need the combination of science and passion that IUCN has provided for so many years.

The theme of your Congress -- “the Resilience of Nature” -- tells us that there is still time to change course.

The world counts on you to help us build the future we want.

I look forward to working with you in that crucial endeavour, and I wish you a successful meeting.